Catholics, Nazis, and Rat-Eating Aliens: A Look at the TV Series "V"

But the Propaganda ministry and Nazi press stepped up their attacks on the Church, which they branded "a sore on the healthy racial body" of Germany. By 1939, the Church's power and influence were seriously dented and had largely been driven out of public life.

In "V" as in real life, a priest who challenges the oppressors is the victim of a smear campaign, and the Church as a whole is threatened. Compared to the Vatican, which did much good in resisting the Nazis (a documented fact that doesn't always penetrate the myth surrounding Pope Pius XII), the Cardinals in "V" folded a little quickly for my taste. On the other hand, the Cardinals weren't caricatured as sinister or oppressive as they frequently are in popular entertainment; they were human beings trying to do the right thing until fear got the better of them. Not ideal, but plausible. My hope is that this particular storyline may evolve over time so somebody from the Vatican may yet get to be a hero. 

An interesting new theme involves Anna coming to the realization that human emotions like hope, love, and courage are the cause of rebellion; frighteningly, some of her fellow aliens have begun developing emotions and they are rebelling too. When Anna is told that the source of emotion is the soul, she orders medical experiments on humans meant to isolate and destroy the physical matter that makes up the soul. This once again reflects the historical habit among atheistic materialists, who—believing that human beings are simply highly-evolved animals—reduce all reality to physical matter or chemical reactions in the brain and reject whatever cannot be quantified by science.

But as Anna learns from a priest, the human soul is immortal and meant for eternal life. "Without them, we would be nothing more than animals," he explains. How Anna reacts to transcendent concepts like the soul and God remains to be seen, but the journey will likely be an interesting one.

The producers and writers of "V" deserve credit for exploring the role religion and clergy play in resisting evil, the moral quandaries faced by good people in difficult situations, and even daunting aspects of theology and philosophy. In an era when the Church and religion often get bashed, "V" is at least giving them a fair shake, all while telling a story that's mature, fast-moving, and entertaining. There's no reason to join a resistance movement against this show. It's a good hour of television that I hope keeps improving with age.

3/2/2011 5:00:00 AM
Tony Rossi
About Tony Rossi
Tony Rossi serves as host/producer of "Christopher Closeup," the radio show and podcast of. The Christophers, a Catholic non-profit that uses media to encourage people of all faiths to live gospel values.